CATSIN:Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses

What is CATSIN?

CATSIN was founded in 1997 to formally represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives. CATSIN is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives, students of nursing and midwifery and has retired nurses and midwives as associate members.

What is CATSIN’s role?

CATSIN’s primary aim is to increase the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into nursing and midwifery. Recruitment means getting people to think about nursing or midwifery as a career and to apply to study. Retention is about getting people to stay in the profession once they start studying or start nursing or midwifery.
CATSIN is also dedicated to ensure all nurses and midwives have meaningful, discrete courses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, history and culture in all courses leading to enrolment, registration or endorsement as a nurse or midwife. CATSIN aims to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery students have targeted support and assistance to ensure their access to education is equitable.
CATSIN represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives throughout the nursing and midwifery professions, to governments and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

What can CATSIN do for you?

CATSIN can represent you in a number of places and on many advisory bodies to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses’ and midwives’ ideas, opinions and principles are heard.
CATSIN holds an annual conference that showcases the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives. The conference is held in a different city each year and is held at a subsidized cost to attendees. The conference gives an opportunity to discuss issues. It provides opportunities to influence the nursing profession to promote and shape change. The annual conference provides an opportunity for people to present papers in a culturally safe and non-judgmental environment. The annual conference provides you with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurse network. Catching up with others from around Australia is a wonderful, annual event.
Each member of CATSIN is expected to support other members, as they are able, and will be supported by CATSIN and its members.
The CATSIN Newsletter is sent to all members. Members are encouraged to share information and experiences through the Newsletter and are welcome to submit articles for publication.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring links an experienced nurse with a student nurse in a formal way. Mentoring can mean establishing a relationship based on support, communication, where the mentor can be a resource, a sounding board and role model. Both parties usually find a mentoring relationship to be of great mutual benefit. Mentoring is what you make of it. 

CATSIN provides mentoring and support, formally for student nurses and midwives and for graduate year nurses and midwives. CATSIN members informally mentor one another.

How does CATSIN have a voice in changing and influencing state and national policy?

CATSIN has members on a broad range of professional boards, committees and organisations at state and national level. This means Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives and nursing and midwifery issues remain permanently on the nursing, midwifery and health agendas.

What type of organisation is CATSIN?

CATSIN is a company limited by guarantee. It is a national, professional nursing and midwifery organisation. It is an independent organisation with links to other professional bodies, and is frequently asked to comment on issues and consult to these organisations. CATSIN is a membership organisation and has an elected Board of Directors with an elected President. Annual elections are conducted for half the Board at the Annual Conference. CATSIN charges very small membership fees and is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Health & Ageing.

Who should join CATSIN?

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives and students undertaking nursing and midwifery education programs. Retired Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives can become associate members.

Who can attend the Annual Conference?

The annual conference is open to anyone who has an interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing, midwifery or health issues

Who can vote at the AGM?

CATSIN members who are nurses or midwives and students members who are currently undertaking an accredited program of study in nursing or midwifery at a university or within the VET sector.

Does CATSIN have scholarships?

No, CATSIN does not have scholarships, but we can provide you with information about many scholarships and where to find them.

Does CATSIN provide funding?

No, CATSIN does not provide funding. However CATSIN has limited funding available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student nurse and midwifery members to attend the CATSIN Annual Conference. This is a “by application only” process each year. Applications generally open in April or May each year in preparation for the conference in late September or October.

How can you support CATSIN?

You can help by joining CATSIN. There is strength in numbers. You can become a mentor for other CATSIN members and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, either formally or informally. You can attend the CATSIN Annual Conference. You can talk about CATSIN to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses, midwives and students of nursing and midwifery. You can provide feedback to CATSIN on matters that are relevant to you and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses.
CATSIN is an organisation that facilitates information exchange.

WHAT ARE SOME OF CATSIN’S ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE?

CATSIN has become a high profile organisation within the nursing and midwifery professions and in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sectors. CATSIN has published a book of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses’ and midwives’ stories. In Our Own Right Black Australian Nurses’ Stories, edited by Sally Goold and Kerrynne Liddle, was published in 2005 and is available from CATSIN.
The Gettin’ e mKeepin’ em Report of the Indigenous Nursing Education Working Group outlines ways universities can improve recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student nurses and midwives. This report was published in 2002.

“CATSIN is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The views expressed on the website do not necessarily represent the position of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.”